The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has called the use of solitary confinement cruel and unusual punishment that is often tantamount to torture. President Obama and Justice Anthony Kennedy have both decried the practice. And yet the United States keeps more than 80,000 people in solitary on any given day in its prisons and jails.
Please join us Saturday, October 15 from 2-5pm at the Potter's House for Solitary from the Inside Out, an opportunity to hear from first-hand accounts of solitary and leaders in the national movement to end it, participate in a virtual reality experience of solitary, and an orientation to Lifelines to Solitary, a program to bring a spark of human contact into the living tombs of solitary confinement through on-going correspondence.
The event will feature readings from Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement, a new book from the New Press edited by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway, and Sarah Shourd. The book provides firsthand accounts from 16 current and formerly incarcerated people of what it is like to be kept completely alone in a small cell, often for years or decades on end—offering a perspective that should inform any debate about human rights and prison reform. The afternoon will feature one of the book’s editors, advocates reading from the work of contributors still in prison, and Johnny Perez of the Urban Justice Center in New York, who will share from his first-hand experience with solitary confinement and the national movement to end it.
Virtual reality experience of solitary and the Lifelines Orientation will follow the readings and presentation from Mr. Perez. This event is co-sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Solitary Watch.